The Potency of Interdisciplinary Collaboration to Empower Constructive Dissenters
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Highly regulated work environments for academics, where workloads are pre-determined and then enforced through accepted norms of behaviour within departments, can work to suppress organic collaborative partnerships, which may arise out of need or unexpected opportunities. As a result of restrictive work practices where the status quo is often preserved, some academics who wish to engage in more purposeful, innovative teaching and learning practices find themselves as outsiders within their own disciplines. They become, in effect, principled or constructive dissenters. This paper contends that a Community of Practice (CoP) may provide a purposeful environment for constructive dissenters and suggests three broad conditions in which such a community might thrive. These conditions are voluntary membership, a facilitated informal network and interdisciplinary collaboration. We examine the positive impact this CoP has had on our intrinsic motivation, enthusiasm for work, and outcomes for students.
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